To book a tour contact: +27 (0)72 377 8014
Ellerman House: art & dinner, 30 Sept & 7 Oct 2020, 6pm – 9:15pm WAITING LIST

Ellerman House: art & dinner, 30 Sept & 7 Oct 2020, 6pm – 9:15pm WAITING LIST

An exceptional opportunity for an art tour and dinner, exclusively for Culture Connect, when the hotel is closed to the public because of Covid-19. This is one of South Africa’s top, small, luxury hotels. Many say its South African art collection is one of the best in terms of its breadth and depth. It tells the story of South African art history and is beautifully placed around the hotel, garden and gallery.

We start with canapes and Brut, then enjoy a tour of the phenomenal art collection, led by Talita Swarts – one of the country’s top art guides who has been giving the tours at Ellerman House for many years. We’ll then have a sit down dinner in the contemporary Wine Gallery, an artwork in itself: See below for the exquisite menu and wine pairings.

Only a few places left – the group will be small.

R1 950 per person.

The highest Covid-19 protocols are in place but please bring your own mask.


Biltong Bitterballen, Coriander & Beer Chutney, Pipicha Powder

Parmesan Biscuit, Heirloom Tomato, Basil, Olive

Smoked Trout Rillettes, Seed Cracker, Baby Capers


Colmant Brut VN


Gamefish Tataki, Carrot Kakiage, Ulva Mayonnaise, Sauce Chirizu


Spioenkop “Queen Manthatisi” Sauvignon Blanc 2018


Robata Kingklip, Langoustine Bisque, White Mushroom Puree, Roasted Leeks


Paul Cluver Estate Chardonnay 2017


Lamb Rump Steak, Spring Peas, Parsnip, Anchovy oil, Herb & Yogurt Emulsion, Lamb Juices


Almenkerk Merlot 2015


African Tiramisu Sphere


Boschendal Vin D’Or




Delaire Graff: fine art and cuisine, Fri 30 Oct 2020, 10am – 2pm

Delaire Graff: fine art and cuisine, Fri 30 Oct 2020, 10am – 2pm

Luxury, beauty and nature – enjoy a special morning seeing art of the highest quality, followed by an exquisite Indo-Asian lunch at one of the finest wine estates in South Africa, Delaire Graff.

Our host, Tessa Blompot, will be joined by Hanlé Hill independent art guide (my point of contact for the Stellenbosch Triennial). We’re hoping we’ll see some areas that are usually no go because of international guests.

African artists in the Collection range from the big names to the new rising stars, such as Cyrus Kabiru, Zanele Muholi and Ndikhumbule Ngqinambi. Well known names include Anton Smit, William Kentridge, Dylan Lewis, Kendell Geers and Deborah Bell. Modern South African masters, working mainly in the 20th Century, include Cecil Skotnes, Vladimir Tretchikoff, Fred Schimmel and Sydney Kumalo.

The architecture is modern but sensitive to the area of outstanding natural beauty. The Owner’s Villa and six Superior Lodges opened in December 2018. Designed by South African dhk Architects, like the main buildings. They have Cape Dutch tradition, while being extremely comfortable and contemporary.

Lunch will be their Indochine restaurant, beneath the eye-catching Swallows in Flight art installation by Lionel Smit and André Stead. Head Chef Virgil Kahn subtly combines East and West flavours to create beautifully presented, delicate flavours using many locally sourced ingredients. After an amuse bouche, we’ll have a small starter, then sorbet before our main course, finishing with dessert and petit fours. A glass of the estate’s wine is included.

R950 each pre-pay by 15 Oct, then R1 100

To book:, WhatsApp/phone 072 377 8014

Address: Helshoogte Rd, Stellenbosch, 7602

It is about an hour’s drive from Cape Town. I can arrange transport, on request. There may be opportunities to lift share.

Please bring your mask!

Cape Malay Supper & Demo/Chat, Tues 13 & 27 Oct 2020, 5:30-7:30pm

Cape Malay Supper & Demo/Chat, Tues 13 & 27 Oct 2020, 5:30-7:30pm

Be inspired and enjoy Fayruza Abrahams’ cooking, tips and stories. She’ll show us how to make samoosas, we’ll then have a chance to fold our own before we cook them to eat there, and/or take home afterwards. We’ll also mix her special sambal and learn her surprising ingredient.

Our supper will be beef and, for vegetarians, lentil bobotie, sweet yellow rice and sambal, followed by spicy tea or peppermint tea.  Fayruza will explain how she made the boboties, enhances boiled rice and mixes spices. We’ll hear how she has traveled the world when she was an air hostess, tasting all sorts of local dishess. She’ll also share recipes from her online tutorials and her new cook book.

“A blast”, “so refreshing”, “such fun” and “already I’m using what I learnt, from little touches like adding cumin seeds in rice to mixing three lentils for the best veggie curry” – feedback from September’s two evenings.

Fayruza is assisted by her neice, Imaan Abrahams, also pictured below.

Afterwards  there is the option to pop to Fayruza’s neighbour, Tracy Rushmere, to enjoy her colourful house and Shine Shine shop/front room. At Fayruza’s we use Shine Shine aprons which we loved so much, we decided go see her emporium for ourselves, full of colourful African infused fabrics for bags, placemats, tea towels, masks…fabulous presents and a fabulous host.

R450 pre-pay, including Fayruza’s sample spice mix to take home.

Small group, book/enquiries: 072 377 8014.

In her home: 5 Lion St, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town (street parking outside, don’t leave anything valuable in sight).

Alternative dates can be arranged; four guests minimum.

Please remember your mask (one will be available to buy at R50)

Mount Nelson – exclusive tour while temporarily closed, Thurs 1 Oct, Sat 10 & 17 Oct 2020

Mount Nelson – exclusive tour while temporarily closed, Thurs 1 Oct, Sat 10 & 17 Oct 2020

Join Culture Connect for a unique opportunity to visit Cape Town’s esteemed hotel, Belmond Mount Nelson,, while it is temporarily closed to the public.

We’ll be able to pop behind the scenes and into a few of the bedrooms, guided by our hosts Gaby Palmer who heads up the PR in Africa for Belmond and Sales Executive, Patrick van Zyl.

We’ll touch on the hotel’s long, illustrious history. It opened to the public in 1899, just before the second Anglo-Boer War, when it wasn’t painted pink. We’ll learn about some of the hotel’s more famous guests, some of whom felt relaxed enough to meditate in the garden (John Lennon) and hold séances in their bedroom (Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes). While other had their favourite spots, ranging from Winston Churchill for his dispatches to Nelson Mandela for his meals. What about more recent guests, such as top Netflix producers? Then the Russian guest stuck here for weeks when Covid-19 broke out!

During lock down hotel chefs and their team have been cooking up a storm for Extreem Kwizeen’s feeding those in need. Uniforms no longer needed have been donated to Dress for Success helping women get jobs.

Do join us – cost R275 per person; (R250 for payment one month in advance). EFT best – bank details will be provided on booking.

Small groups, with social distancing aided by mic’s and earpieces. Please bring your own mask.

To book: or WhatsApp/tel 072 377 8014

Brian Ingpen, acclaimed maritime educator and writer will be giving a Zoom talk for Culture Connect on Tues 20 Oct about the Hotel and Castle Union line, 1-2pm South African time; R50 each (free for full time students and Culture Connect collaborators); login will be sent the day before; use booking details above.

Images: Aerial view of the Hotel (provided by Gaby), Old Grill Room (image from the Hotel), passengers coming off a Union Castle boat, Cape Town harbour (image from Brian Ingpen) and detail of a watercolour by Maria Ross, whose family owned the Mount Nelson before it became a hotel (image from Iziko Museums of South Africa, part of the Lidderdale bequest).



See Cape Town differently – walking history tour, Sat 24 Oct and Fri 6 Nov 2020

See Cape Town differently – walking history tour, Sat 24 Oct and Fri 6 Nov 2020

First Nations to democracy: three centuries of stories about the shaping of the Cape Town as we know it. Hugely knowledgeable and experienced, Lesley Cox, is leading this new walking tour. We start by the main yellow gates of the Castle of Good Hope, 9:30am and finish at 11:30am, at the Company’s Garden Restaurant.

At the Castle moat, we’ll get a sense of life before the European settlers arrived. We’ll absorb the views of the City Hall and Grand Parade, before walking to the front of City Hall where there is the newish statue of Nelson Mandela, where he gave his speech on the day of his release. Next will be Church Square, which Lesley calls the Slave Precinct. Here we’ll get an understanding of early settler life at the Cape. We’ll then stop in front of St George’s Anglican Cathedral and the segment of the Berlin Wall. Then we’ll head through Company’s Gardens. On route we will we engage with South Africa’s political history, especially when we are outside South Africa’s Parliament. We’ll pass the statues of Queen Victoria, Jan Smuts, Cecil Rhodes and World War memorials.

Lesley, with 169 reviews in TripAdvisor all five out of five, has been guiding for 18 years in and around Cape Town. She has an Honours Degree in History from the University of South Africa and specialises in walking tours in city centre. Some of you may have met Lesley as she regularly attends Culture Connect’s open tours and lectures about South African history. Lesley has just been voted onto the committee of the Simon van del Stel Foundation of Cape Town, nationally known as the Heritage Association of South Africa.

R275 per person; (R250 each for payment one month prior).

All tours will be small (about 10 people), with social distancing aided by mic’s and earpieces.

To book: click here to email or WhatsApp/tel 072 377 8014.

This walking city tour can be commissioned for a private tour at a mutually convenient date.

Remember to wear a mask and footwear good for walking on pavements. Please dress according to the weather and, if you are likely to get thirsty or peckish, water and snacks. As with all cities around the world, please keep your phone and wallet safe during the tour; leave jewellery at home.

Images: The Castle from the Parade by TW Bowler, c1854 (from Parliament’s collection); view of Grand Parade and City Hall taken by Lesley from the top perimeter ring of the Castle; Parliament of South Africa, c1888 (from Parliament’s collection) and a detail of Lady Anne Barnard’s panoramic view from the Castle, watercolour, c1799.



Bo-Kaap Walk & Lunch

Bo-Kaap Walk & Lunch

Bilqees Baker, Bo-Kaap resident and activist, will lead her popular Culture Connect Bo-Kaap walking tour, including going inside South Africa’s oldest mosque and the kramats/cemetery. We’ll stop by community projects, the coloured houses and spice shop. Commentary will include slave history, property challenges and Muslims traditions here. With, of course, time for your questions.

Afterwards, there is the option of a Cape Malay lunch by Fayruza Abrahams in her home, 5 Lion St which has been in her family for generations and which she shares with her brother and daughter. Our menu will include wheat-free chilli bites, veg curry, roti’s, sambal, chutney, rice and koesisters, with spiced tea and freshly favoured water. Her cooking is world famous thanks to the popularity of her Airb&b experiences. Fayruza will tell us about the spices she uses, tips about cooking Cape Malay style and her own foodie journey which spans the time when she was an air hostess to recipes from her grandmother.

Given the precautions against the spread of the Covid 19, the date is yet to be confirmed.

Time: 10am -12pm or 1:30pm if staying on for lunch
Cost: R250 early birds, then R350; add R250 for Cape Malay lunch afterwards  
Meeting point: Tana Baru (old cemetery and shrines/kramats) outside the main entrance, Dawes St, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, 8001

If you would like your own bespoke Bo-Kaap tour contact | 072 377 8014 (whatsapp/phone) or be hosted for a Cape Malay lunch, high tea or supper, perhaps including a cooking demonstration/lesson (making samosa’s is fun!).

For a focus on urban design and the built environment (past and present), architect and UCT lecturer Sadiq Toffa leads a Culture Connect Bo-Kaap. Sadiq was brought up in the Bo-Kaap. He is the South African co-ordinator for the World Monuments Fund for threatened cultural heritage sites of global significance. He also is a trustee of the Tana Baru Trust, with responsibility for heritage. While the Bo-Kaap now has heritage overlay protection, huge issues remain about high rise developments. Please ask if you would like this tour.